Sunday, 22 April 2018


If you say the magic word, SALMA's
covering will drop away as if, magic.
I'll give you all a clue to start you off - the
word isn't "SHAZAM!"

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Just time for a quick post to show off a couple of recent eBay acquisitions - two of the four little plastic THUNDERBIRDS craft given away free (and separately) with KELLOGG'S SUGAR SMACKS in the '60s.  Had them back in the day, have them once more -  I'm a very happy chappie.  (I'll no doubt track down the other two some day.)  Bring back any memories for anyone?  Feel free to share with your fellow Criv-ites.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me.  (You shouldn't find that surprising by the way - thoughts very often occur to me.)  That in turn led to another thought - see? It can be habit-forming - which was this:

Imagine we're living in a world where technology is more advanced that it currently is.  Imagine also that you're 14, and come home from school one day to find a forlorn-faced relative who informs you that your parents have just been killed in an accident.  Well, obviously you'd be devastated, and to those who have actually suffered such a tragedy, I hope you won't find the following scenario too disturbing.

Now imagine that some official comes to see you one day and informs you that, rather than commit you into care, two clones of your parents will be supplied to look after you and any siblings.  These clones look like your parents, talk like your parents, are capable of independent thought, and are practically indistinguishable from the real people they're cloned from.  In this way, the home environment with which you are so familiar can be maintained, thereby hopefully lessening the trauma of your parents' death.

Would this work for you?  It occurs to me that though this illusion of 'continuance' might be comforting to a degree, every so often you'd be reminded that, although these replacements fulfilled the role that your real parents had once served, they were mere duplicates, replicas, stand-ins - fakes even.  Sure, it would be great to have your life continue as before, but this couple were not the ones who had brought you into the world, looked after you, dried your tears as a child, etc., etc., - they were merely imitations.

Of course, the same scenario can be imagined for spouses and children, siblings and pets, but is this concept one that you feel drawn to, or do you reject it completely out of hand as something you'd never entertain if given the choice?  I must confess that the idea intrigues me, though I don't know if I'd go for such a scenario were it within the realms of possibility.

What gave rise to this bizarre idea?  Well, as I said, tonight, as I luxuriated in the refreshed familiarity of my bedroom, a thought occurred to me, which was this:

As regular readers will be aware, I've recently been replacing posters, pin-ups, pages and pictures with newer duplicates. The ones that now adorn my bedroom walls may appear the same as those they replaced, but they aren't the ones upon which I've daily gazed over the last 35-40 years of my life - they merely look like them (though newer, brighter, cleaner and whiter).

There's something comforting about retaining things that have accompanied you through a significant period of your life's journey;  they have silently seen and shared your joys and sorrows, heartaches and hopes, like old friends that have always been there for you.  It suddenly struck me tonight that these pictorial doppelgangers don't share the lenghty history of their predecessors - they only have the same ap-pearance, though not the same 'experience'.

I feel very guilty.  Though it's nice to have my room looking more colourful and less aged, I know that I'd never have replaced my parents with newer, younger duplicates when they began to look old and faded, so now wonder why I did so with my posters and pin-ups.  True, it's not an entirely equivalent comparison, but I still can't help but wonder at my heartlessness in dispensing with those loyal pictorial companions, many of which have accompanied me through nearly two-thirds of my life.  Like I said - I feel very guilty.

H'mm.  I think perhaps I shouldn't think so much.  It hurts.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


On the wall across from the foot of my bed hangs an AIRFIX skeleton.  I purchased it in the early '90s as a replacement for several of the same model I'd owned (at different times) as a child.  I'd love to be able to tell you that it inspired the following poem (which I wrote in 1980) because it would make a great anecdote to be able to say that the skeleton at the foot of my bed gave me the idea of Death being ever-present, but, alas, it had nothing to do with it, apt as it would be to claim otherwise.

Most of the poem came to me unbidden in the early hours of that '80s morning (I think it was October - I have a note of it somewhere, but it's not to hand at the moment), and, unable to sleep, I grabbed a pen and paper and jotted it down as it came to me.  Later, I added some bridging lines and polished it up into its present form, but, truth to tell, I'm still not entirely happy with it.  One day I must sit down and apply myself to giving it a further polish, but in the meantime I present it as it is for your esteemed consideration.  Are you all sitting comfortably?  Good, then I'll begin.


                                              Reader dear, if you will hearken,
                                              a hellish tale I shall relate;
                                              each and ev'ry word consider,
                                              for in their story lies my fate.
                                              One night while vainly seeking sleep,
                                              I heard a sound within my room,
                                              and slowly opening my eyes,
                                              I pierced the near-Stygian gloom.

                                              A fearful sight confronted me,
                                              O reader how can I convey
                                              the scene that met my startled eyes,
                                              a scene that haunts me to this day?
                                              A figure draped in black I saw,
                                              it lurked mere inches from my bed;
                                              a vision from the vaults of hell -
                                              my quaking heart was filled with dread!

                                              I lay quite still, no sound I made,
                                              though all the while I longed to scream -
                                              but I held back my cries of fear
                                              with hope 'twas all an idle dream.
                                              And then with stealth I pinched myself,
                                              with fervent pray'r my head would clear,
                                              but, alas, 'twas no vain fancy -
                                              the image did not disappear.

                                              I heard it moving closer then,
                                              though soft and muffled was its tread,
                                              a face peered out from 'neath its hood -
                                              a ghastly pale skeletal head!
                                              I watched the fiend loom over me,
                                              my body froze, my limbs grew numb.
                                              It bent its skull towards my face -
                                              I thought my final hour had come.

                                              And then it spoke - O saints above,
                                               I felt its fetid icy breath!
                                              The words it said near stopped my heart -
                                               "Tremble mortal, for I am Death!"
                                               And then my clouded head did spin,
                                               for he stretched out his evil claw,
                                               but something seemed to hold it back -
                                               his gnarled talon did withdraw.

                                               And as I gazed into his eyes,
                                               they glitter'd with intense regret;
                                               and then he spoke and I knew why -
                                               he said "Your time has not come yet.
                                               But know you this, although unseen,
                                               I stand forever at your side -
                                               and when at last your time does come,
                                               there is no place where you can hide!

                                               So now I leave you with these words" -
                                               he seemed to fade into the black -
                                               "You have respite, for now at least,
                                               but live in fear for I'll be back!"
                                               And with those words the fiend was gone,
                                               though only from my human sight,
                                               for he, in truth, yet lingers near -
                                               in spirit, ev'ry day and night.

                                               And since that dreadful hour I fear
                                               the chimes that bid me to my bed,
                                               for on some unknown day to come,
                                               the rising sun shall find me dead.
                                               And so I sit here while time flies
                                               until the day of Death's return,
                                               when he shall come to claim his prize -
                                               O reader dear, the tale is done! 
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